18 Jun What Is The Best Natural Hormone Replacement For Menopause?
Are you worried about what you’ll have to endure in terms of hormone replacement when you reach menopause? A wealth of research suggests that hormone therapy in the form of drugs is harmful to women over time. Click here to learn about the best natural hormone replacement for menopause.
Did you know that estrogen, along with progesterone, work to serve many functions?
First, it helps the body to process calcium which is vital for strengthening the bone. It also assists in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, as well as keeping the vagina healthy.
With the onset of menopause though, the amount of both natural estrogen and progesterone the ovaries produce drops dramatically.
And this can lead to a number of symptoms including night sweats, hot flashes, painful intercourse, mood changes, vaginal dryness and sleep problems. Even more serious, it increases the risk of osteoporosis.
This is where natural hormone replacement therapy comes in to play.
What Is Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Simply put, it’s a treatment used to augment the body’s natural hormone levels. And many women are good candidates for this therapy.
And there are a number of options. Some women fare well with estrogen-alone therapy, particularly after a hysterectomy.
Others who experience menopause naturally may find a combination of estrogen and progesterone therapy more helpful.
There is also a relief to be found from vitamins, herbs, supplements, and activities done or taken in tandem with these therapies.
We’ll start by looking at different hormones used in these therapies.
Hormones from Natural Substances
Hormones derived from natural substances are powerful chemicals that affect many parts of the body. And natural progesterones and estrogens that mimic hormones that naturally occur in the body are referred to as bioidentical.
The following natural hormones are the ones most commonly recommended for women going through menopause:
Progesterone is crucial for menstruation and pregnancy. It’s produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands and serves to balance the effects of estrogen. When progesterone production drops off, the risk of heart disease is elevated.
Bioidentical progesterone comes in many forms. The most common are topical oral capsules, topical creams, and the sublingual tablet. The recommended form is sublingual.
Possible benefits of progesterone supplementation:
Reduces hot flashes and night sweats
Promotes bone building and protects against osteoporosis
Maintains lining of the uterus
Acts as a natural antidepressant
Helps keep blood sugar levels normal
Aids thyroid hormone action
Protects against fibrocystic breasts, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer
Normalizes blood clotting
Always be sure that your progesterone levels are measured by a physician to ensure that the levels are within therapeutic range.
Along with estradiol and estrone, estriol is one of the three principal estrogens produced by the body. For a long time, it was ignored by the medical community as a viable hormone for hormone replace.
This is because of its weaker estrogenic activity.
But now the medical community has discovered that when this lower-potency bioidentical estrogen is administered topically, it can help to reduce symptoms of menopause without the added risks of cancer that come from higher doses of estrogen.
It may offer additional benefits in the areas of:
postmenopausal urinary tract health
Interest in estriol increased as it was discovered that estriol was safer than horse-derived and synthetic hormones in relation to cardiovascular health and potentially cancer risk.
Estradiol is a stronger estrogen than estriol.
It can be helpful in reducing vaginal symptoms of menopause, including vaginal dryness, burning or itching.
Because of its strength, it is recommended that the product first be applied directly inside the vagina. If that is not effective, then it can be taken orally or topically, or injected.
4. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
DHEA is an over-the-counter hormone that regulates sex steroids, neurosteroids, and other bodily functions.
Proponents of DHEA claim it helps to prevent aging, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. But it also relieves vaginal dryness and could reduce the vaginal thinning that occurs after menopause.
Additionally, it could serve to maintain or even increase bone density.
It should be noted, however, that DHEA can cause acne and may increase facial and body hair.
Melatonin is another hormone that’s available over-the-counter but helps with menopause in a different way from the above hormones.
The main benefit of this hormone is that it regulates the wake-sleep cycle. And since menopause can cause fluctuations in sleep for some women, melatonin offers the possibility of improved sleep.
Additional Natural Choices
While some women opt for only natural hormone replacement therapy, there are those that find relief by adding some other options.
These might include:
1. Black cohosh
Black cohosh is derived from a plant in the buttercup family. It’s been used for centuries to relieve women of hot flashes during menopause. It’s available in capsules, tablets, or powder form that can be mixed with water.
This plant is also thought to behave similarly to serotonin in the brain. Its proponents claim that it can ease the feelings of depression that come with menopause and fluctuating hormones.
As with anything, what works for one woman may not be effective for another. But it’s definitely worth a try if you want to add it to your regimen.
2. Vitamin D
As women age, their ability to absorb vitamin D decreases – which heightens their risk of bone density loss. That’s why you can’t go wrong with getting more vitamin D.
It promotes healthy normal cell growth, bone renewal, and hormone balance – all of which are vital for menopausal women.
Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body in response to sun exposure. So getting into the sun is really the best way to “take” it.
The recommended daily dose is 600 international units (IU). To get this from the sun, step outside on a sunny day for a 15- to 20-minute walk. You’ll still want to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin though.
If you have sensitivity to the sun, or you live in a climate without much sun, you can take vitamin D in a capsule, sublingual pill or a liquid.
And be sure to add more foods to your diet that are high in vitamin D such as tuna, wild salmon, sardines, eggs and fortified dairy products.
3. St. John’s Wort
Also used to treat mild depression, St. John’s wort has long been used as a treatment for menopausal mood swings.
Derived from a wild flowering plant, St. John’s wort may also improve sleep, relaxation, as well as reduce depression and anxiety – all of which can occur during menopause.
It can be taken in pill or liquid form, or brewed into a tea.
Some people have noted increased sensitivity to sunlight while on St. John’s wort. And, of course, you should aways check with your doctor if you currently take other medications.
Ginseng is an herb which has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese, Koreans and Native Americans for its therapeutic benefits.
It’s considered an energizing herb that can also be used to treat menopausal symptoms of stress, fatigue, and anxiety.
Ginseng is available as a tea, powder, extract or even capsules.
5. Mindful breathing
An amazingly effective and simple supplement to your natural hormone replacement therapy comes in the form of mindful deep breathing.
Mindful deep breathing has a calming effect on the mind and can ease some menopausal symptoms like anxiety and hot flashes.
The next time you feel a hot flash coming on, inhale deeply through your nose to the count of four. Hold your breath for seven counts.
Then exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight. Imagine the heat and stress exiting your body on this exhale.
Continue this cycle at least two more times.
Many menopausal women claim that yoga relaxation and stretching techniques help to stabilize their mood and improve their overall well-being. There are even specific stretches to ease menopausal symptoms.
But if doing yoga on your own seems like too much at first, find a studio that offers a gentle yoga once or twice per week.
Then once you feel comfortable with practice, you can do your own thing at home when you get up in the morning, or before you go to sleep at night.
Adding a weekly visit to an acupuncturist could help to ease your hot flashes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture is a generally low-risk procedure. Just be sure you visit only a licensed and reputable acupuncture clinic.
And your insurance might even pay for it, as many insurance plans now cover acupuncture. So check your coverage before you make an appointment.
How Long Does HRT Treatment Last?
There’s no definitive answer to that question.
While the average age of menopause onset is 51, there are no hard and fast rules about when a woman will reach it.
Furthermore, there’s no timeline for how long the symptoms will last. Typically speaking, the most severe symptoms often last for two to three years.
Many doctors agree that taking a low-dose treatment of whatever chosen hormone is the most effective way to get HRT’s benefits while limiting any possible increased health risks.
But even in the cases with the most severe symptoms, hormone replacement therapy isn’t intended to last any longer than four to five years. And in most cases, it won’t be that long.
Is HRT Right For You?
Are you struggling with the many symptoms that come with menopause?
Natural hormone replacement therapy – whether done alone or in tandem with other treatments – could be just what the doctor ordered.
If you think you’re a candidate for this therapy, contact us today. We’ll help you determine the next steps.